As part of our ongoing Innovator Interview series we interviewed John Jackson, President of the Police Futures International (PFI) and a member of the Houston Police Department. PFI is an organization whose mission is to prepare police forces for the long term via planning and foresight tools. (how cool is that?)
In this interview, Jackson discusses some of his effective forecasting techniques, the organizational challenges he faces and his insights on how one can drive innovation. At first, it may not be clear how a government organization relates to those of you who work in the private sector. And even Jackson differentiates between the private sector and public sector’s focus on innovation – the former is concerned with “profit and efficiency” and the latter with “equality and representation”. Regardless, the insight and foresight tools Jackson provides within can be applied to most organizations looking to become more future focused.
Read on to see an excerpt from his interview or download a full version for free.
Do you have a favorite technique you use to get police leadership to do some visioning?
Mr. John Jackson: One of my favorites is called Ten Years From Now. I ask them to envision 10 years in the future and imagine that everything they want to come true has come true. Now, describe that. They can be very articulate and specific in their answers; it’s amazing, actually.
But why is this so amazing? Because in police work you’re almost never asked these types of questions, let alone given latitude to answer them. With this exercise, you’re giving them permission to dream. Once we have articulated the vision, we can identify common ground or, even better, the great ideas that are magnetic. After we’ve settled on a worthy destination, we can do a backcasting exercise to build a roadmap with milestones to achieve the vision.